Earth’s Final Hours

| April 2, 2013

One of my all-time favorite guilty pleasure movies is The Core with Aaron Eckhart, Hilary Swank, and Stanley Tucci.  The story is about a manmade weapon that stalls the rotating core of the planet and causes the electromagnetic field to deteriorate.  As a result, the Earth is plagued by electrical storms and solar radiation.  I think the movie’s a lot of fun, and as implausible as a ship that uses lasers to dig its way to the center of the earth is, I still enjoy the film a lot.  That being said, even though Earth’s Final Hours has a very similar storyline, it is almost unbearable to sit through.

The noticeable change in story is that in this film the breakdown of the Earth’s electromagnetic field is caused by the Earth’s rotation slowing to a standstill.  This slowing down is a result of a super-dense meteor crashing into the earth and coming out the other side.  So, it’s up to FBI agent John Streich (Robert Knepper), his son Andy (Cameron Bright), and a local astrophysicist (Julia Benson) to use a pair of antique satellites to jumpstart the planet.

I didn’t know going into this movie that it was a Syfy original movie, and normally I’d recognize it right away, but this has a better cast than any I’ve seen.  But don’t worry, all of the telltale Syfy original movie trademarks are here.  A ridiculous premise, seemingly endless scientific exposition to sell the premise, and a soulless archetypal military villain (played here by Michael Kopsa).

I’m no physicist, but I really have no idea how a meteorite passing through the Earth is supposed to stop the entire planet from spinning.  If it did work that way, I don’t understand why the planet would come to a stop and stay that way.  There’s no friction in space.  If a force acts on the planet to cause it to stop, then it would immediately start to spin the other way.

It’s confusing at first to understand what the opposing forces in this film are hoping to accomplish.  Streich and company want to use the satellites to beam an energy blast through the Earth and kick-start its rotation.  On the other hand, Agent Lockman (Michael Kopsa) and his team want to use the same satellites to create a localized, artificial electromagnetic field around the small sliver of the planet that will remain habitable after the Earth stops rotating.  You’d think that in the midst of all the pseudoscientific exposition this would be made clearer, but in the climactic moments of the movie, it’s actually really difficult to sort out what’s going on besides the shootouts and fist fighting.

No special features.  Available on Blu-ray and DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment on April 2.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
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